Tuesday morning those of us already there headed down to the Seawall near the Pleasure Pier.
No, we didn't go to the Pleasure Pier....it was closed during the week anyway. We were off to take a tour of the historic East End with Cool Tours.
We had a fabulous tour with a really personable guide. Not only did she know all the history of Galveston Island, she grew up there and led rather an exciting life which she was more than happy to share.
Although we didn't need it, the mini tour bus has A/C and tinted windows (made pictures a little more challenging).
We did the one hour tour but they also have a “hop on, hop off” tour where your ticket is good for 24 hours and you can get off and on whenever you want. We learned all about the history of City of Galveston as well as Galveston Island from the time of Jean Lafitte’s pirates, it’s heyday as the Wall Street of the Southwest, the Great Storm of 1900, the building of Seawall Boulevard and the grade raising of the Island. Galveston was also a huge entry point for immigrants just like Ellis Island on the east coast. We saw many of the 19th century homes and tree sculptures (enough to tempt Deb and I to go back and take a much longer look….later post). We learned about the Strand District with its shopping, museums, and restaurants. We drove past the art galleries, cafes and night life of Post Office Street and the Grand Opera House.
The well known Porretto Beach. Beaches near downtown charge while beaches further south on the Island are free.
This is the only painted tree statue and was done as a sculpture of the owner's dog.
We also saw boats along the harbor.
The driver's favorite seafood market.
You can take a tour to see the dolphin's or go out on a fishing boat where they provide equipment and bait.
This is Pier 21 right in the middle of it all.
This is the last decoration left from the Mardi Gras celebration which is very big in Galveston.
A quick glimpse of the Strand....more to come later on our own.
Be sure to stop at the Visitor's Center. They have lots of information and some very helpful ladies working there. The famous Juneteenth Proclamation freeing slaves was given from the third story balcony of this mansion. What, you can't see a third story balcony?
Look very closely at the bushes below the fancy railing. See the arch between the bush and the pot? Those arches were originally the first floor of the house. After the huge hurricane, they raised this part of Galveston by eight feet but were unable to jack this house up so the first floor was filled in and became part of the foundation.
This famous 72 foot monument statue was commissioned by Henry Rosenberg to honor those who fought and died in the Battle of San Jacinto to win freedom for the Republic of Texas from Mexico.
Although she is gesturing in the direction of the San Jacinto Battlefield, Galvestonians often say she is pointing the way to the Infamous Post Office Street where sailors headed to visit ladies of the night. Our tour guide told us some very interesting personal stories of her youth. She said she and her brother were lucky to graduate because they missed a lot of school. Every time ships came into port, they skipped school and helped sailors find entertainment while they were in port. The ladies of the evening (who they knew as neighbors) paid them $.15 a customer and the sailors paid them $.10 so they often made more money in a day than their Dad when ships were in town. She was a wealth of information.
Here we are back at the Pleasure Pier.....
where we had lunch at Fish Tales. Wow, delicious! I had ribs and shrimp kisses.
Everyone loved their choices. Carolyn had a grilled fish salad that was so big she took half home. Others had fish tacos or Seafood Trios. Everything was so good that we went back another day.